Handbook: Technology Needs Assessment For Climate Change

Mar 1st, 2012 | By | Category: Advocacy, News, Publication, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Technologies, Wind energy

Climate change and the accompanying threat of ocean acidification from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are among the most daunting environmental problems in the world, posing major socioeconomic, technical and environmental challenges. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), average global temperatures should not rise by more than 2oC above pre-industrialized levels as this is widely considered the maximum temperature increase to avoid irreversible damage to global climate and ecosystems. In its World Energy Outlook 2009 the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends that in order to reach this goal, energy-related CO2 emissions need to peak globally by 2020 at 30.9 gigatonnes (Gt) and then decline to 26.4 Gt in 2030.

Urgent efforts to reduce GHG emissions need to take place against the backdrop of a growing international energy demand. In the World Energy Outlook 2009, IEA estimates, based on government policies and measures enacted or adopted by mid- 2009, that in 2030 world primary energy demand will be 40% higher than in 2007. However, 90% of this increase is expected to take place in non-OECD countries. In addition, 77% of the worldwide energy demand increase will be based on using fossil fuels. At the same time, 1.3 billion people will still lack access to electricity in 2030.

The Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) estimates that the additional financing needs for dealing with the above energy and climate challenge span a range of USD 262–670 billion per year, which is around three to four times greater than the current global investment levels in energy technologies (EGTT, 2009a). Of this amount, USD 100 – 400 billion annually is needed in developing countries.

Mitigating GHG emissions is only one aspect of climate policy. Equally important will be the need to reduce countries’ vulnerability to climate change impacts, so that the sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services on which people depend can be protected. This will require adaptation measures in order to increase countries’ resilience in areas like: health and social systems; agriculture; biodiversity and ecosystems; production systems and physical infrastructure, including the energy grid. A number of developing countries have already carried out assessments of adaptation measures needed. These can be used to inform other countries.

Within this overall development and climate policy context, a key step for countries is to select technologies that will enable them to achieve development equity and environmental sustainability, and to follow a low emissions and low vulnerability development path. This Handbook presents a flexible and systematic approach for that. In addition, the Handbook contains steps for identifying activities to accelerate the development and transfer of the priority technologies in the country concerned.

This updated Handbook addresses the increasing importance of technology issues on the agenda of negotiations on a future climate policy regime. For example, two of the five pillars in the Bali Plan of Action (Bali, December 2007) focus on enhanced actions on and provision of financial resources to enable technology development and transfer. At COP 14 (Poznań, December 2008) the Poznań Strategic Program on Technology Transfer was adopted as a step towards scaling up the level of investment in technology transfer in order to help developing countries address their needs for environmentally sound technologies. Finally, at COP 15 (Copenhagen, December 2009) the future establishment of a Technology Mechanism was suggested “…to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.”

In addition to facilitating technology needs assessments to produce portfolios of prioritized with priority technologies for mitigation and adaptation, this updated Handbook also establishes links to processes for formulating low emissions and low vulnerability strategies in developing countries (e.g., identification of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs)). For instance, the Handbook explores how the development and transfer of prioritized technologies could be accelerated in a country and how this information could provide input in formulating strategies. With these links, the Handbook addresses recent developments during and after the negotiations at COP 15 in Copenhagen.

The EU, for example, has proposed a concept suggesting that developing countries prepare Low Carbon Growth Plans which describe nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). Another example is the proposal submitted by Republic of Korea, suggesting that “… developed country Parties need to provide developing country Parties with a roadmap for low carbon development which includes appropriate policy tools and necessary support to enable them to pursue greenhouse gas emission reduction and economic development at the same time.”

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